HC Deb 24 November 1847 vol 95 cc149-50

wished to ask the hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Admiralty whether there was any foundation for the report that Admiral Napier had employed the influence of his position in order to obtain the arrears of salary due to him by the Portuguese Government?


said, he was much indebted to the noble Lord for putting that question to him thus early on the meeting of Parliament. He was happy to say that he was in a position to lay before the House the most convincing proofs of the utter groundlessness of the report to which the noble Lord had alluded. Those proofs consisted of papers above all suspicion on account of the gentleman from whom they came, supported by the means which he possessed of ascertaining the real facts of the case. Sir Hamilton Seymour had addressed a letter upon the subject to the First Lord of the Treasury, with permission to make use of the document, and that letter he would now read. It ran as follows:— My Lord—As reports to the prejudice of the gallant Admiral, Sir C. Napier, have been inserted in some of the English newspapers, I am induced be trouble your Lordships with the following statement. Upon the arrival of the gallant Admiral at Lisbon, the Finance Minister expressed his regret that he was unable to pay him the arrears of his pension due to him, adding at the same time that he should make an effort to do so as soon as possible. The answer of Sir C. Napier was to this effect: 'That he had no wish to be paid before his companions, and that he would take his chance with the rest.' Sir C. Napier now acquaints me that four months' pension, out of the fifteen months then due, has been paid to him, and this amount only has been received. He further acquaints me that two months having elapsed since that part payment was made, thirteen months' payments are at the present moment due to him. The gallant Admiral is thus placed in the same position as every other person who has claims for pensions upon the Portuguese Government; he has not, therefore, abused the influence which his present position has given him. I do not hesitate to say that I should regret as a public calamity the occurrence of any thing upon the part of the gallant Admiral which should interrupt the great service he is now rendering to the country by the performance of his duties at the post to which he has been sent by the Government of this country. The services which he is there rendering are of great value, and will, I doubt not, be of great service to the country.